Thursday, August 09, 2012

7 Ways to Educate Yourself Outside the Classroom

The cost of continued education is soaring, and rate increases still loom on the horizon for many college students.

Couple this with the fact that tuition costs are rising faster than inflation, and it’s not surprising in the least to see college-age kids starting to look elsewhere for education alternatives.

1. Codecademy


We've talked about Codecademy a few times. Its approach to learning is rapidly acquiring new users and co-founder Zach Sims tells us he's already hired a developer who learned how to code using the platform. Coding is a modern-day form of literacy that can quickly lead to employment in an array of different industries. The site offers lessons in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and Python, using gamification techniques to make it fun and encourage friendly competition among friends. To date, Codecademy users have competed more than 100 million tutorials.



2. Goodwill Community Foundation International


Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF) offers online classes completely free of charge. It focuses on everything from math and technology to reading and job skills. It's a great resource for a protracted learning experience or just a quick lesson.



3. Khan Academy


This non-profit features more than 3,300 videos that can be easily accessed for learners of all ages. It can also be used for teachers that are looking for materials to augment their lessons.



4. MIT Open CourseWare


Need to brush up on your aeronautics proficiencies? Looking to find out more about video game theory and analysis? Aiming to impress someone with your linguistic prowess? This centralized resource center is for you -- and it won't even cost you one pretty penny. Courses are broken down by subject matter so it's easy to find what you're after. Once you've located something intriguing, it's a breeze to identify how the lesson will be taught. Lessons include photos and video, others just audio or text which is great for a variety of learning styles.



5. Open University


Based in the UK and launched in 1969, this historic institution takes a winning approach to education. The team believes that you should be able to access quality lessons and interactions wherever you are in the world, when it is convenient for you. There are no entry fees or applications to submit, which takes a lot of the guesswork of applying out of the equation. The low barrier to entry makes it a great option for people looking to switch careers and for more casual learners. 6. Skillshare Learning from people that are active experts in their field ensures a level of insight that's hard to achieve at a traditional university. Classes vary in price, but the sense of community is well worth the expenditure. It's highly likely that you'll find yourself in a class with fellow learners who are ready to turn ideas into action.



6. Skillshare


Learning from people that are active experts in their field ensures a level of insight that's hard to achieve at a traditional university.
Classes vary in price, but the sense of community is well worth the expenditure. It's highly likely that you'll find yourself in a class with fellow learners who are ready to turn ideas into action.



7. iTunes U


Stop playing Angry Birds for just a second and try downloading an app that will explain how regressive taxes affect the world economy. App prices vary, but the accessibility makes them absolutely worth it. More than 500,000 free lectures, videos and books are available in myriad subjects, taught by thought leaders from Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, the Library of Congress, MoMA and more.

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